Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (170)

Niall Collins

Question:

170. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position of the European Union on the status of US-Iran relations including sanctions imposed by the United States of America; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28033/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Growing tensions between the United States and Iran which have escalated in recent months and weeks, are a worrying development. Following US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) last year, the EU conveyed our great regret at the decision to the US Government. The EU believes that there is no credible alternative to the JCPOA, which was a significant diplomatic achievement. We remain fully committed to its preservation and full implementation, which is in the security interest of all. We share the US view that Iran's ballistic missile activities should be curtailed, and that its regional activities have exacerbated and prolonged conflicts. However, we believe that the best way to achieve an end to these is to show that diplomatic problem-solving can work, by holding to the gains from the nuclear agreement.

Following the recent ratcheting up of tensions, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini made a statement on 13 May 2019, which called on both parties to show maximum restraint and to avoid any escalation on a military side. This view was also directly shared with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by HR/VP Mogherini in her consultations with him in May. The EU has expressed deep regret at the continuing US efforts to tighten general economic sanctions on Iran, and also at Iran’s subsequent decision to partially suspend its operation of some commitments under the JCPOA, including limitations on its stocks of nuclear materials. We are also very concerned about the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, for which there can be no excuse. No party has yet claimed responsibility for these. The European Union will continue to monitor tensions between the US and Iran, and where the opportunity arises with both Governments and relevant interlocutors, will encourage a return to diplomatic dialogue and constructive communication.

The EU strongly urges Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the JCPOA in full and to refrain from any escalatory steps. Ireland and the EU will continue to endeavour to ensure the effective fulfilment of the JCPOA and adherence to its commitments by all remaining parties. All parties to the JCPOA, including Iran, Russia and China, met in Vienna on 28 June to discuss continuing implementation of the agreement.